Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Taking a hit for the team
At the weekend my dearest friend Amanda came to visit from Rome. We managed to sit out in the garden all afternoon and talk and talk and talk. She really has the most original mind of anyone I know. With regard to my daughter's death, she said, 'Don't you think there is a sense in which you are taking a hit for the team?' I didn't really know what that meant but she explained to me that it's an American baseball phrase. Apparently, it refers to when the person who is meant to be hitting the ball gets hit by the ball instead (often very hard). Initially, I didn't understand what she meant but then she said, 'The point is that if seventeen babies are stillborn in the UK every day then the fact that you had one of those babies is actually really good for everyone else. It means that there is some other person out there who doesn't have to have a still born baby. So you are taking a hit for the team.' The thought was an odd one but I do think she's got a point. However, we both of us agreed that the idea only works if 'the team' does exist. In other words it only works if all the people around me offer me lots of love and support because they acknowledge that actually I'm doing something wonderful for them. Of course, I do know people who are offering me love and support (thanks Amanda, thanks Joslin, thanks everyone at the Quaker Meeting House). But there are many people who are just hiding from me because they feel guilty and embarrassed. They should really change their approach. They should come up to me and say, 'Let me offer you any help and support that I can because I'm so, so grateful to you for doing this. Because you're doing it, I am not having to do it. Thank you very much.' This all sounds mad, I know, but I don't think it is.